Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof


Pretty Lonnie Sawyer is shy and innocent, used to fading into the background within her family, and among the creeks and hollows of the Appalachian hills. Though her family is poor and her father abusive, she clings to a quiet faith.  But when handsome ladies’ man and bluegrass musician Gideon O’Riley steals a kiss, that one action seals her fate.  

Her father forces her into a hasty marriage with Gideon—a man she barely knows and does not love. Equally frustrated and confused by his new responsibilities, Gideon yearns for a fresh start, forcing  Lonnie on an arduous journey away from her home in Rocky Knob. 

Her distant groom can’t seem to surrender his rage at the injustice of the forced matrimony or give Lonnie any claim in his life.  What will it take for Gideon to give up his past, embrace Lonnie’s God, and discover a hope that can heal their two fractured hearts?

Gideon only ever cared about himself. Now that Lonnie is his wife, will he ever be worthy of her heart?

My take:~

Debut author Joanne Bischof takes on some heavy subject matter in her Appalachian novel, Be Still My Soul, the first in her Cadence of Grace series. An unwanted marriage forced upon Lonnie and Gideon has expected consequences – bitterness, anger, disappointment and shattered hopes. Joanne lets these feelings run their course and doesn’t shy away from the negative and harmful responses that play out, initially by Gideon who becomes destructive and dangerous, and later as Lonnie’s shattered heart results in angry rejection.  Uniquely, Joanne takes a big risk, especially with readers who seek out a charming if not perfect hero, penning a man whose physical appeal is marred by a selfish and bitter heart, resulting in a character I didn’t care for through much of the book. Joanne’s authenticity in the creation of Gideon is to be applauded and his journey, in particular, makes for an intriguing and refreshing read. Minor characters play important roles, adding conflict and restoring hope, while the Appalachian mountains and community come alive. While I wished for more interaction between Gideon and Lonnie to share in their changing feelings toward each other, just as my thoughts towards Gideon altered, Be Still My Soul is a pleasing beginning to Joanne’s writing career and I look forward to more stories from this promising writer.

With thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah for my review copy

Relz Reviewz Extras
Visit Joanne’s website and blog
Buy Be Still My Soul from Amazon or Koorong

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19 Responses to Be Still My Soul by Joanne Bischof

  1. I am looking forward to this story. I grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee, so this holds special appeal to me. Thanks for the review, Rel.

    • Aaron » I’ve just had the pleasure of watching your brief Novel Crossing video and have to say, love that accent, Aaron :)

    • Aaron, it’s always such a pleasure to meet someone who grew up in Appalachia. I couldn’t resist peeking at your video either and I completely agree with Rel, I love your accent! Your stories sound very interesting! I look forward to learning more about them!

      • Thank you so much, Joanne. Actually my first series was co-authored with Gilbert Morris and was set in the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, I loved writing about my home state’s history as I have loved writing on my adopted state’s. by the way, I love the covers they are doing for your books, too! They really are fantastic.

  2. I just finished this book and was so glad to hear such a fresh voice in historical fiction. The author took on a tough subject and leads the reader on the journey as the characters evolve and grow. I loved Aunt Sarah and also Jebediah. Great characters! I recommend this book and it is one I shall treasure on my bookshelf!

  3. Excellent review, Rel!
    I have this one on my TBR pile.


  4. Just NOW rec’d this in my mailbox! Love the cover and can’t wait to meet Gideon and Lonnie! I already love Joanne:)Thanks so much, Rel.

    • Laura Frantz » You’ll enjoy it, Laura, I’m sure!

    • Laura, I’m so excited! (ok…and insanely nervous) about the thought of you reading my book! I’m savoring every moment spent with Eden and Silas and just last night had another swoon moment while reading the last 5 pages of chapter twelve. Sigh…just magical.

  5. Wonderful review! Like you, I struggled to like Gideon through so much of the first half of the book…I kept waiting for him to show his hero side. :) But even in his selfishness, he started tugging on my heart. I love the author’s writing and yes, the setting was so…alive! Loved it!

    • Melissa Tagg » Thanks Melissa – she drew Gideon really well, I agree. Loved your thoughts on the book :)

    • Melissa, I always love hearing your thoughts! Working with Gideon’s character has been my greatest challenge as a writer, yet one that I completely loved because he and I are so different (pinkie promise!) that I never know quite where he’s going to go next so every line and thought is a surprise.

  6. Rel, I absolutely loved reading your thoughts on Be Still My Soul. You have such a high level of discernment with all the books you review and seeing it through your eyes is such a treat!.

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